Jaan at the Penthouse

A progressive Indian restaurant:
It was a rather bold move for Chef Farrokh Khambata, Head Chef and Owner of Jaan, to launch an Indian fine dining restaurant just when modernist Indian cuisine started thriving in the country. With the cuisine slowly but surely starting to take over the culinary landscape of the country, will the food served at Jaan stand a chance in this competitively stimulating race?
Feast of Kings:
Jaan definitely hits the mark in terms of presentation and we were rather impressed with the flavors too. For starters, we sampled dishes such as Life of Nemo, Hunter’s Poussin, Big Head Prawns and Crab 69. There were mixed reviews on the table when it came to our selection of appetizers. While the ‘Life of Nemo’ starter had a rather humorous take on its presentation, we weren’t quite sure about the concept of serving Blue Fin tuna over a tiny fish bowl with real fish in it? While it may be amusing for some, it somehow felt wrong to us. But we guess that’s just our personal opinion? When it came to the flavor, it was spot on. The spiced dashi had a subtle taste that was perfect since it did not overpower the flavor of the beautiful tuna. The Hunter’s Poussin was another cleverly plated dish made to look like a bow and arrow. Marinated with basil and cumin, the flavor of the chicken was fairly delicious and perfectly cooked until juicy and tender. Again, we were a tad bit weirded out with the condiment being served in a chicken foot holder, but we guess the unusual and quirky presentations are what’s setting Jaan apart from the rest. The Big Head Prawns were named rightfully so. Nothing excites us more than seeing gigantic prawns being brought to our table and here again, Jaan nails it in terms of presentation. Unfortunately, the prawns were a couple of minutes overcooked and ended up tasting dry and slightly rubbery. We guess the appetizer that we seemed to enjoy the most would have to see the Crab 69 hand cut roll. Prepared using soft shell crab, fragrant leaf tadka (a tempering of curry leaves) and a creamy spice glaze these rolls were bursting with flavor and texture. The softshell crab was perfectly crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside and the curry leaves tadka seemed to compliment the crab beautifully. The presentation was spot on too, except for the colorful edible paper butterfly placed over the rolls that seemed a bit too tacky.
When it came to the mains, the dishes fared relatively better. The presentations were distinctively attractive, the variety was impressive and the flavors were reasonably refreshing. We enjoyed the Raan-e-Shahi which is a splendidly marinated and cooked leg of lamb that’s enormous in size and succulent in texture. We also enjoyed the Butter Paneer Scramble served with Sumac and Zaatar. Although the dish wasn’t extraordinary in terms of individuality and the presentation was rather low-key compared to most dishes, the wholesome and hearty flavors were warm and comforting enough to win our hearts over. Speaking of warm and hearty, the Sizzling Chole Hummus with Amritsari Kulcha is a must have. At first, we weren’t too certain about the concoction of components in this dish but one morsel changed our minds completely. The potato-stuffed bread complemented the mashed chickpea gravy perfectly. And the thought of combining two cuisines using one ingredient – chickpea, seemed rather remarkable and brilliant. We were also served Dal Makhani (black lentil with red kidney beans) and Arabic Malai Murgh Biryani on the side.
The desserts unquestionably stole the show for us. We tried the French Toast Shahi Tukda served with Almond Kulfi. The concepts of Shahi Tukda and French toast are similar in preparation, however, originated from different cuisines. Again, we were blown away by how beautifully these two concepts combined to give us a flawlessly soft sweet bread that’s probably one of the best French toasts we’ve had. The rich and indulgent flavor of the kulfi was appetizing as well and completed the dessert effortlessly. Our final dessert and probably the best dish we’ve tried at Jaan was called Nirvana. Comprising of saffron pannacotta and Thandai (a sweetened cold milk drink) mousse, this dessert was addictively indulgent, had all the right flavors and the drizzle of raspberry coulis wrapped the dessert up perfectly.

Address and Contact Details:
Sofitel Dubai Downtown
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, UAE

Ambiance: 3/5
Food: 3/5
Service: 3.5/5
Value: 3/5

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